MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia|October 2020
There isn’t an industry that hasn’t felt the COVID-19 impact, including the art world. We asked three local prominent figures in fashion and music about how they navigate the troubled waters.
Nawaf Rahman


How is your business affected by the coronavirus outbreak?

Unfortunately, Future Sound Asia has been severely impacted by the outbreak. As our core business is organising and producing events and festivals, both of which have been prohibited during MCO, CMCO and RMCO, our business has basically ground to a halt. However, as Malaysia has managed to keep the number of COVID-19 cases low and things are slowly starting to open up again, recently some restrictions have been loosened so we’re feeling hopeful.

Did you have to pivot or introduce new method of operating?

We have explored alternative forms of revenue, such as selling Good Vibes branded face masks – of course it doesn’t come close to making up for the lost revenue due to the restriction on events and concerts, but at this point any revenue helps. We also have other plans in the pipeline but are waiting for the right time to execute them. Fortunately, conventions and exhibitions are now allowed to be held provided strict SOPs are adhered to, so we are working on Sneakerlah happening in December this year.

What would you say are the most severe impacts on the event industry?

The largest impact is undoubtedly on the music and entertainment events sector – with concerts, festivals and clubs being prohibited, your local musicians and DJs are the most affected as they are left without paying gigs. It also affects countless other fields related to the sector, such as of course concert promoters/ organizers, sound/light/musical equipment suppliers, technical crews, touring crews, etc.

How will music festivals adapt – and to what extend can live streaming help?

There have been a number of socially distanced music festivals and concerts that were held in the US and Europe, and a few regional ones as well, where attendees were separated into small groups and had to stay within their designated area, or where the whole event was a drive-in and people just stayed in their cars. Quite a few festivals, such as Tomorrowland and regionally We The Fest in Jakarta, have done virtual versions of their festival – live-streaming acts from across the world to viewers at home. All this was done to varying degrees of success; at the moment it unfortunately is not cost-effective for us to do a socially distanced or virtual version of Good Vibes Festival and the sustainability of such events remains to be seen. I think live streaming is really good for artists to stay connected with their fans however and provides artists with much-needed revenue, especially since they are cutting out the middleman by reaching their fans directly.


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October 2020